Specter Spelunker Shrinks


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Rating: 4.8/5 (358 votes)
| Comments (43) | Views (166)

Mikemike-specterspelunkershrinks-screen1.gifThe ability to change size is an oft explored trope from our favorite stories, from Alice in Wonderland to classic science-fiction films. But how many have asked what effects such an ability would have on the protagonist of classic sidescrolling platform games? That's the gist of the odd premise of Specter Spelunker Shrinks. Created by Ken Grafals, Specter Spelunker Shrinks is an experimental puzzle platformer where the ability to grow and shrink the main character is key to navigating a world of dangerous pink prisms and disparately sized passageways.

The [arrow] keys move Specter Spelunker, while [Z] makes him jump. The [up] arrow causes Specter Spelunker to grow (I mean, grow physically ... I mean, vertically ... oh, nevermind), while the [down] arrow makes him, well, shrink. Use your ability to change size at will to avoid obstacles, leap over walls, and negotiate tiny tunnels.

The game isn't very long and seems more like a showcase for a cool new idea than a fully-developed game. It's a very cool idea, though. Specter Spelunker Shrinks basically has one level divided into a bunch of areas, with each area featuring a different sort of challenge. Many challenges require careful adjustment of Specter Spelunker's size, a few require some advanced planning, and still others are more about reflexes, as you quickly change size in midair to avoid obstacles. Ken Grafals has generously distributed numerous save points throughout the game before each area, so you never have to backtrack to get past the more challenging stages.

Specter Spelunker Shrinks is a nifty presentation of a neat idea. The novelty of the concept, plus the variety and inventiveness of the puzzles, will encourage you to keep playing, and the length makes it perfect for any small break in your day.

This game makes use of the Unity plugin. You may need to download it if you cannot play the game on your system.

Play Specter Spelunker Shrinks

43 Comments

Wow... excellent mechanic! I agree with the review... it's more like a showcase for the new mechanic than a full game, but it is exceptionally cool. Took me less than five minutes to complete, though.

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An EXCELLENT game that could be easily expanded into a fully-fledged adventure by way of more detailed and interesting environments (not to say the existing environments aren't already interesting!).

Playing it gave me parallels to Katamari Damacy and Small Worlds. Both games began with the player investigating tiny areas with lots of details, and gradually the game "opens up" as you can see more and more of the world, until eventually it's all laid bare before you. The end of the game is worth playing through just to see it.

I hope the developer gets a lot of positive response to this, and develops this into a larger game with more areas to explore!

-SirNiko

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Very cool game. Quick, but a very unique idea!

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Short, sweet, and effective. I would love to see more from this idea!

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Between this and BOXGAME, I'm really happy with the innovative mechanics that have been coming out of Unity-based games lately.

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And now I think I broke it, while trying to look for a secret. Where'd the moon go?

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It won't load for me..
Is there an alternative site that it's hosted on?

[Make sure you have the Unity plug-in installed. A link to the plug-in page is in the review header. -Jay]

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Awesome game

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That was great! More please.

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Ashengale Author Profile Page March 25, 2010 12:34 PM

Unfortunately brief, but very interesting concept that could definitely expand into something incredible.

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pleasant end

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GREAT! I would even pay money for a full-size game like this, and I never buy games.

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BRILLIANT! i give 5 stars for the concept and the physics of the game feel great!

i finished the game by entering the snowglobe in the end and going into the house... but is there another way, because i only discovered that other yellow area by chance... what if you jump down. do you still die?

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Addendum: went to gamesite and played Spcter Spelunker in 3D, also fun but no grow/shrink action.

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Username Author Profile Page March 25, 2010 2:38 PM

@Buttons, keep making yourself bigger, or fall off the side again and the moon should show up.

I live in a snow globe?!?

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waycooler Author Profile Page March 25, 2010 3:40 PM

Well that was very fun. I wish it was longer. The ending was mind-blowing, too.

I was really just running around in that tiny little thing? Woah. Mind officially blown.

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Grant Thurston Author Profile Page March 25, 2010 3:59 PM

I really liked the ending, it was funny. I'd like to see a sequel to this, it's interesting. Something where you're running through real life things would be interesting...

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Anonymous March 25, 2010 5:35 PM

waaaaaaaaaaaaaay cool

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Anonymous March 25, 2010 6:16 PM

I have the unity plugin and it still won't load. I'm guessing it's a Firefox issue. It just worked in IE.

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Like cluffy said, I recommend that you play Specter Spelunker Shrinks, but also go to the game site, scroll down a bit, and play the original Specter Spelunker 3D. Both are quite short and lots of fun. :-)

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Anonymous March 25, 2010 7:30 PM

Absolutely beautiful!

Great ending, great pre-ending (discovering how small it all was after all) and very lovable graphic style (reminded me a lot of Tron, for some reason...)

The designer should really team up with the Small Worlds guy, and the result would be pure gaming poetry!

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nikikinz Author Profile Page March 25, 2010 7:51 PM

Really original and worth a visit top see earlier games in the series.

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@JIGguest: I have firefox as well, and the game loads and plays for me. Perhaps you need to restart your browser, or your machine, for the unity plugin to take effect?

Firefox 3.6.2 here.

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I haven't played it yet, but would just like to note that all my attempts to load it Google Chrome meet with Unity crashing. I looked up more Unity games, and they work, but this doesn't. Works on Firefox, though, so I'm excited to give it a go!

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Anonymous March 25, 2010 9:19 PM

I reached a point where I just fell and fell and it didn't stop.

There was a part that was a bit buggy, one of the moving red blocks towards the end managed to get past the wall to its left and expanded its movement range!

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Chiktionary Author Profile Page March 25, 2010 11:11 PM

Original and fun.
Would make a great fully-fledged game.

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Katherine March 26, 2010 1:58 AM

Omg. I loved it. I think it did perfectly fine on its own. A sequel would perhaps spoil the ending, though maybe fleshing it out more with a story wouldn't.

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More more more!

For those who can't get it to load, try disabling your ad blocker on that page.

-Joe

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Definitely a bit on the short side as is, but there is definitely some potential in the concept. I could see it going in one of two directions: a Metroidvania style exploring/collecting game, or a just plain masochistic I Wanna Be the Guy or VVVVVVVV style "Die at least 5000 times trying to finish it" style game.

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I enjoyed this so much. This guy SERIOUSLY needs to make a full-fledged game with this. (Also, they have acknowledged this review.)

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This totally sucks. I tried downloading the Unity Web Player but it says that Google Chrome is already using it or something and I can't stop it. And every time I try load the game the whole browser crashes and I have to restart it. This sucks. Somebody help, this game sounds good.

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Twitchfactor March 27, 2010 9:37 PM

Awesome game! Great concept and well executed. I really hope Unity becomes more popular, so we can see more interesting games like this all over the place.

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zbeeblebrox Author Profile Page March 28, 2010 7:10 PM

I recommend playing it in Firefox rather than Chrome. Google's browser is good for many things, but working with Unity is not one of them. At least not entirely.

I love games that play with perspective shifting, and this is definitely no exception. I can't wait for the designer to come up with a more fleshed out version. Many of the concepts he touched on suggested some brilliant possibilities for a full-fledged game.

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I loved this game! The ending was great, but it was too short. A sequel, perhaps?

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noopynick Author Profile Page April 8, 2010 5:47 PM

hmmm. i like the concept, but this really needs fixing. growing needs to be faster as well as most of the moving.

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chinchin. April 29, 2010 3:09 PM

@zbeeblebrox

Chrome does work with unity, what are you talking about? I'm playing it right now...-_-

This was an excellent game, I want more!

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choirboy Author Profile Page May 4, 2010 4:00 PM

Awesome game! It's way too short, though. Needs a sequel. Also, who would've guessed that we were trying to

get to a home in the middle of a snow globe?

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Mordecai Author Profile Page May 8, 2010 11:03 PM

Good game. i enjoyed the fascinating way of gliding through the game by shrinking and growing in the air at decent speeds.

Definitely needs to be longer or have a sequel.

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Simply Excellent!!!!

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Monkeyman May 17, 2010 3:36 PM

why does anybody even use chrome^^

firefox is the one and only browser you need...

and btw. the game is super excellent^^

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OMG, that's cool game! Very good!!

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Great game!

But is it supposed to be so dark I can't see the player character?

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I really like the idea, but randomly when I try to grow or shrink I die. Is anyone else getting this?

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